“There are other times when I feel that I “should” be praying for someone more than I do, but no matter how I feel, they just don’t come to mind when I pray. I may also try to pray, but have no desire, or cannot find much to say, & even what I do say is dry & lifeless. If God gives you an assignment to pray for someone or something, you will not have to “try” to work up a desire to pray; you will find that you cannot help yourself. You find yourself praying for them without even consciously planning to do so. Regarding prayers of importunity, Andrew Murray wrote: “Oh what a deep & heavenly mystery this is of persevering prayer. The God who has promised, who longs, whose fixed purpose is to give the blessing, holds it back. It is to Him a matter of such deep importance that His friends on earth should know & fully trust their rich friend in Heaven, that He trains them, in the school of answer delayed, to find out how their perseverance really does prevail, & what the mighty power is they can wield in Heaven, if they do but set themselves to it.” (The Power of Simple Prayer: Joyce Meyer)
As the climax to Lent, Holy Week, begins, I would like to express my appreciation to each of you for the way you have immersed into this prayerful season, & its opportunity “to fall in love again with God.” Out attendance at weekday Mass & at our Lenten Pause, Stations of the Cross, & Caroline Dollard’s Lent Course have been inspiring, & I am sure these collective moments are an expression of your deeper individual commitments to your relationship with God. This Sun (Palm Sunday) there will be an ecumenical Stations of the Cross & Palm Procession at Byland Abbey at 4pm. Rev Catherine Reid & I would warmly welcome you to join us for this, a first moment in Holy Week, for the blessing of Palms, & a praying of 3 Stations of the Cross at particular locations within the Abbey buildings. It will last perhaps 45 minutes. Please come suitably clothed for cold conditions, & be aware that the ground will be uneven for walking. It would be helpful if those who want to come would tick our sheet at the back of Church please. Car parking is limited so you may wish to share transport. Please be aware that the crossing from the car park to the Abbey needs care & vigilance. In response to the request from the Bishops of England & Wales to make last Friday a day of prayer for Survivors of Abuse, we celebrated a special Mass & held an evening prayer service centred on 3 Stations of the Cross. Please keep the survivors in your thoughts & prayers as they too journey with Christ in the sufferings of Holy Week, & the hope for new life with the Risen Christ.
In an announcement read to the parishioners of Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling last Sunday, Fr Gabriel explained his concerns for Fr Matthew’s overall well-being & his relinquishing role as priest-in-charge after 13 years of devoted service. The parishioners have been invited to a Parish meeting this Tuesday at 6pm with Fr George as Sub-Prior, Julia Brooke, Ampleforth’ s delegate for the Parishes, & myself to begin to look at the future for the Chapel, after which they will report back to Fr Gabriel & his Council. Fr Columba will celebrate Mass in Gilling on Palm Sunday & Easter Day, & we can expect a number of parishioners from Gilling joining us here for our Triduum Services, & I am sure you will give them every welcome as well as your prayers at this uncertain time for them.
St Benedict’s Primary School finished for their Easter holiday on Friday with a fine anticipated Palm Sunday Service. This is an opportunity to thank the staff, parents & students for a term of hard work & outstanding progress. We are awaiting an imminent Ofsted Inspection in the summer term, & we pray that the exceptional improvements in every aspect of School life & performance in the last 3 years will be acknowledged with an appropriate rating from the Inspectors.
At our Mass this coming Wednesday we will welcome a group of Year 11 students & staff from St Bede’s/St Joseph’s College Bradford who, unusually & impressively, have sacrificed 3 days of their Easter holidays to come to the Abbey & College to do focused revision for their forthcoming GCSE exams. They thoughtfully asked to join us for Mass, & I would ask you to keep them & their fellow students in your prayers. With my love & prayers, Fr Bede.